The impressive Aquatics Centre, one of the 2012 Olympic Games’ iconic venues, is now open to the public. Located in the south-east of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, between the Stadium and Stratford City the pool is affordably priced for non-Olympians, although you may spot some famous faces: it’s Tom Daley’s new training ground.
Designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, the building features a huge, wave-shaped roof – steel and glass on the outside, treated timber within – which rests on three concrete supports. The temporary 42m stands for Olympic spectators have been replaced with huge glass windows on either side, providing unexpected views of London landmarks including the Millennium Dome, Canary Wharf and, looming in the foreground, the Arcelormittal Orbit.
Inside there is a 50m-competition pool with seating for 2,500 on concrete terracing, a 25m diving pool, (with 1m, 3m, 5m, 7.5m and 10m platforms and 1m and 3m springboards) and, hidden underground, another 50m pool, used for warm-ups during the Olympics. The three pools can be split using movable floors and booms to create a further four swimming areas. Altogether they hold a massive 10 million litres of water and are lined with 180,000 tiles. The centre also features a dry-land dive-training area with a trampoline, springboards, foam pits and harnesses, and a 50-station state-of-the-art gym.